Drug deal gone wrong ends in shotgun blast
A DRUG deal gone wrong in a Toowoomba car park had ended with the disgruntled "customer" firing a shotgun at the fleeing dealer, the city's District Court has heard.
Robert William Thomas Lasserre had arranged to meet a drug dealer's middle man for a drug buy in the car park of Westridge Shopping Centre about 12.30am May 27, last year, the court heard.
However, Lasserre, 30, was not happy with the quality of the drug supplied to him and had asked for a refund.
An argument ensued and Lasserre, armed with a shortened shotgun, had climbed into the back seat of the dealer's vehicle which contained three men, Crown prosecutor Shontelle Petrie told the court.
When he produced the shotgun, one of the men lunged at Lasserre and a wrestle ensued over the firearm during which Lasserre was pushed from the vehicle.
As the trio fled in their car, Lasserre had fired a shot which smashed the car's rear windscreen sending glass fragments flying, some of which struck the driver leaving him with a cut hand, Ms Petrie said.
Lasserre had then got into the stolen Range Rover he was driving and gave chase.
The trio in the lead car was in such fear the driver had sped through two red traffic lights en route to the Hume St police station where they told police of the incident, she said.
Lasserre was found by police on the Sunshine Coast two days later and had remained in custody since.
He pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm in a public place, discharging a firearm at a motor vehicle, unlawfully using the Range Rover and a number of associated offences.
Ms Petrie told the court Lasserre had an "extremely extensive" criminal history and had served a number of jail terms for attempted and actual robberies and a car jacking in Toowoomba.
Defence barrister Geoff Seaholme said his client had started smoking marijuana at age 11, progressing to heroin by 14 and "ice" by 20.
His client's criminal history stemmed from his drug use, he said.
The 30-year-old had served out previous sentences after being taken into custody but he had 123 days pre-sentence custody pertaining to these offences alone, the court heard.
Lasserre had been serving his time in the Townsville Correctional Centre because his former partner and their two children were living nearby in Townsville, Mr Seaholme said.
Given his client's criminal history, his prospects of obtaining early release on parole were limited and he would have to show the Parole Board that he had rehabilitated, he submitted.
Judge Tony Rafter SC noted Lasserre at the time of the car park incident was subject to bail conditions, a probation order and a suspended jail sentence.
"You have a significant and highly relevant criminal history," Judge Rafter told the prisoner.
Judge Rafter declared the 123 days pre-sentence custody as time served under the penalty and sentenced Lasserre to seven years in jail but ordered he be eligible to apply for release on parole as of August 3, 2019, by which time he would have served a minimum of two years and four months behind bars.